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Cleveland Plain Dealer: Sens. Sherrod Brown, Rob Portman seek database to help fight harmful algal blooms

By D'Arcy Egan | September 11, 2014

CLEVELAND, Ohio – While Lake Erie braces for another late summer coating of green slime from phosphorus-provoked harmful algal blooms, or HABs, Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman introduced legislation Thursday to help determine the causes of the blooms and ways to combat them.

The Great Lakes and Fresh Water Algal Blooms Information Act would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create a database of the research and information by various agencies on the HABs, and corrective actions needed to eliminate them. Rep. Bob Latta, a Republican from Bluffton, Ohio, introduced companion legislation in the House on Thursday.

"Ohio is home to world-class scientists and experts who are committed to keeping consumers safe," said Brown in a press release. "This database would help ensure the best and most up-to-date research and information on algal blooms is available to the public. We must be vigilant in our work to protect Lake Erie and our drinking water supply."

On Wednesday, Portman and Brown also introduced The Safe and Secure Drinking Water Act to determine if Ohio drinking water is safe for consumption. Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo introduced similar legislation in the House. The legislation directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to publish a health advisory and report what level of microcystin, a liver toxin, in the HABs is safe for Ohioans to consume.

The World Health Organization established the microcystin standard of 1 part per billion. That standard was used to shut off Toledo's drinking water supply for three days on Aug. 2.

Read the full article here: http://www.cleveland.com/outdoors/index.ssf/2014/09/sens_sherrod_brown_rob_portman.html

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